I was sent one to review, and let me tell you, it is the easiest thing in the world to apply neatly. You outline and then you colour in – you don’t even really need a mirror for this, AND it doesn’t come off on your teeth or glass (volunteers needed for a pash test though). I scrawled some on before leaving the house one morning and was surprised to discover I was still wearing it at lunch, and it still looked fine. That speaks volumes to me about how it feels as well, not at all drying like most colour-stay stuff.
Here’s what Max Factor say about it:
Launching in 6 super-rich shades, it’s time to unleash your inner-artist to create your boldest glamour statement yet. The easy application of a lipstick bullet tip combined with the convenience of a pencil in a jumbo design; means Colour Elixir Giant Pen Stick is your perfect lip painting tool. The ultra-pigmented formula delivers strong colour, a sculpted tip ensures a precise result whilst the smooth texture means colour glides on effortlessly without bleeding. It’s easy – simply play, experiment, and show off your signature style. You are the artist.
The two things I didn’t like about it? I’m not sure how I will sharpen it when I need to (I guess I’ll buy a sharpener?) and also the colour. I was sent Princess Pink, which is much paler than I would normally wear, to the point where it’s pretty much a nude, as you will see in this fairly unhinged looking picture of me.
Yeah I know it’s rude to complain about things that are free, so instead, since they’re only $17, I will go buy myself a brighter colour and wear that very happily.
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’ll know that I love the Gillette Venus razor but in its original form. None the less, when I received a Venus Spa Breeze in a package of goodies from a PR company, I figured I’d give it a good go. First, the official word:
The secret to an easy yet indulgent shave? Venus Spa Breeze. Simply add water for a skin-loving, light lather and a smooth shave—there’s no need for separate shave cream. Even better, the shave gel bars are infused with the fresh scent of white tea to soothe your senses.
The shave gel bars did indeed help the razor glide over my legs, and I didn’t feel any of that hitching you get if you ever stupidly try to shake without lube. However, I do feel like I didn’t get the closest shave possible, because the bars kept the blades from making perfect contact with my skin. That was actually a good thing in my armpits, where I’m more prone to irritation, but my legs didn’t feel as smooth as usual. They did improve with a buttload of moisturiser though, but I can’t help but feel I will get hairier sooner than usual.
I can see the benefit in not wanting to lug shaving foam around with you, but as a person who washes her hair every day, I’ll always have conditioner with me that I would use instead. They might be more useful if you shave with a leg propped up on the sink instead of in the shower though, less drippy.
Frankly though, given that regular Venus blades sell for around $15 at Chaffers New World, and the Spa Breeze ones sell for $26, it’s clear that the biggest benefit to this new razor is to Gillette’s bottom line.
Also, and this is a problem with SO many things, but the day that clamshell packaging dies in a fire forever will be a very happy day indeed. Those things are way too hard to get into.
While I’m working through products I should have written about a long time ago, I also got sent a bunch of Health Basics products to try. They were celebrating their new look launch, and how they’ve named products after New Zealand locations, and that they’re using local stuff in them. I like a good quote of the press release, so here we go:
Inspired by the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand, the Health Basics personal care range, including body wash, hand wash, and bar soap, has been renewed with new product formulations and smart design features for Kiwis who desire something more indigenous and authentic in their daily wash rituals.
The refreshed range has been renamed after iconic New Zealand locations, while New Zealand- based ingredients such as manuka honey, kiwifruit, pohutukawa extract, harakeke, and avocado oils have been added.
One of the things they mention is how you can easily peel off the labels on the handwash so your bathroom looks less cluttered. Here, let me steal an image from their site to show you what I mean.
I’m not sure how many people will do that – it seems like if having a pristine bathroom was that important to you, you’d probably fill your own bottles. I do think though that having the bodywash on a rope is bloody great, because man, my shower caddy is overflowing with products. And their website is really pretty and easy to navigate.
But enough with the aesthetics, how are the products? Well, I took a bottle of the Wanaka daybreak hand soap away with me for a group holiday with a big bunch of people at New Year’s, and I chopped a lot of onions. The soap absolutely removed all oniony smell from my hands every time. I was very impressed. Definitely a product you might want to put by your kitchen sink.
Meanwhile the Opito Bay bodywash foams up really nicely with a puff for leg shaving, which is an important requirement for me in a body wash. I don’t love the smell of jojoba, but I might try the Ruby Bay Sunset or Akaroa Sunset milk & honey varieties once this one runs out.
I like how in their FAQ they talk about how the products are made in NZ, that they’re not tested on animals and they make it clear what products are suitable for vegans (all but the milk & honey). You should look out for Health Basics in your supermarket, and buy the ones that smell good to you. Excellent.
Last year (yes, I am the WORST) I was contacted by Health2000, and asked if I wanted to review some products for them. Of course I would, I said, so they sent me some Trilogy balancing cleanser. The courier package went astray, so I had to go to the depot to collect it, and the depot was closed, and then it was Christmas, and then my girlfriend and I broke up, and all the lights in the world went out, and then work got insanely busy, and and and. And throughout that time, I was washing my face using the cleanser, so I feel very qualified in writing about it now. But first, their description:
Dosage: dailyDescription: Say hello to soft, fresh skin and goodbye to dryness and irritation with this uplifting and refreshing gel cleanser.
Benefits: Leaves the skin feeling fresh, clean and velvety soft Helps to balance the skin without drying.
This is a very gentle cleanser, which is a good thing, although it loses in the fight against the insane amounts of black
eyeliner I tend to wear. I do definitely still moisturise after using it, but I don’t feel like my skin would flake off if I managed to lose all my moisturisers under a pile of clothes and couldn’t retrieve them before I had to run out the door to work, and that’s a good thing. I’m not the biggest fan of the smell of it, because I think I don’t like comfrey (it smells a bit like chamomile tea, which I dislike the smell of), but it’s not unpleasant. I definitely like the feeling of it on my skin, and use it happily most days (mixing it up with a scrub, and also a Karen Murrell face wash, because I get bored very easily). I don’t know if I would pay $42.50 for it though. In fact, I know I wouldn’t, because I am lucky enough to have skin that generally gets on just fine with supermarket price products.
Remember last year when I went to Wellington Fashion Week and wrote those really long, detailed posts about the shows? Well, it’s WFW again but this time I’m taking a slightly different approach. Firstly: let’s talk about goodie bags.
Once again, I was surprisingly cool and waited until I had left the shows to dig through the bags. Sidebar: I hope that when I eventually leave this mortal coil, someone writes that in my obituary. “Megan was surprisingly cool”.
As you can see, goodie bags involve a large number of vouchers. Some of these are actually handy, while some will require me to get a shellac pedicure in order to get a free shellac manicure. Probably not going to use that one.
The Kathryn Wilson goodie bag (top left) was by far my favorite, chock-full of lovely skincare treats and a voucher for lovely Dyrberg Kern goodies – I’ve been considering a purchase from them so I am looking forward to using that up!
To kick off our WFW coverage properly, I’m doing (another) giveaway. Simply leave a comment below with your favourite NZ designer and you’ll go in to win a selection of goodie bag goodies (and a surprise treat!). The winner will be drawn on Monday 8 April, so get in quick!
Keep your eyes peeled over the weekend for brief show summaries and images of my favourite outfits and pieces from the shows this year.
This project is the result of reading a post on I Spy DIY about painted vases, and thinking about how the dressing table in our spare room is a blank expanse of white. I didn’t have any spraypaint in my two crates of crafting materials (sigh) but I did have chalkboard paint, chalk, and three empty jars.
You will need:
- Chalkboard paint – I had black paint, but you could also buy coloured chalkboard paint for this project
- Clean, dry jars or bottles in a variety of sizes
- A medium-size paintbrush
- An old towel
Once you have gathered your materials and made sure your glass objects are clean and dry, it’s as simple as could be. Give your paint a really good stir (really good) and then brush onto the outside of the bottle. Avoid the very top of the jar and don’t paint the base – the former gives you something to hold and the latter ensures you don’t get black marks on the furniture every time you use the vases!
Use thin coats of paint. Although the first coat may look streaky, if you lay it on too thick it will dribble and the finish on your jars won’t be smooth. At this stage the paint will look glossy. Allow to dry overnight.
Once the paint is nice and dry, gently buff the surface with an old towel. I find that this makes it easier to draw on the chalkboard paint with the chalk. Then just go to town drawing whatever patterns take your fancy! If you break a new stick of chalk, the rough surface is much easier to draw with (the outside tends to be too hard). Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect – just tell yourself it’s all part of the DIY charm.
The paint will hold up pretty well on the glass surface so you can use a damp sponge in future to gently clean off the chalk designs and update the jars.
Fill your vases with hastily-arranged flowers and enjoy!
There will be a heap of leftover paint so I suggest you might want to team up with some other crafty friends and all make a vase or two. These would also make a cute Christmas present if you have a few girlfriends to buy for – decorate each vase to reflect that particular friend’s interests and fill it with their favourite flower (or delicious treats!).
You can also use chalkboard paint on:
- the glass in old picture frames to create chalkboards for the kitchen or your office. Just spraypaint the frame white or gold. I also made a chalkboard for a friend’s photobooth at her wedding this way;
- the outside of plastic storage containers. A swipe of paint gives you a surface to label and re-label indefinitely; or
- cheap glasses from the Salvation Army to create customisable glasses for parties – don’t paint all the way to the top of the glass though, just to be on the safe side!
Once upon a time, when I was a small Megan, I applied my makeup thusly: foundation with fingers, blush with the teensy brush that came in the compact, mascara via mascara wand, chapstick straight from tube. Obvious problems there – primary of which is that if I went out in that much makeup now, people would think I had consumption. But aside from the fact that apparently I am fading like a flower, what the hell is with that teensy brush they give you? My cheeks are quite a generous portion of my face, while that brush was doll-size.
My search for a better tool than these stubby fingers has eventually led me to this point – trialling makeup brushes I heard about on Youtube. Real Techniques (by Samantha Chapman) came to my attention because I watch makeup tutorials by Sam, and her sister Nic, on their Youtube channel pixiwoo. I then went on a jaunt to Sydney last year and came across the brushes in Priceline. In my insanity, I bought one. I knew you couldn’t get them in New Zealand, yet I only bought one *shakes head in disappointment with self’s inability to make good decisions*.
Well, I think I can sum up this review by saying: I now own 11.
These brushes are extraordinarily good. They’re all synthetic, which is nice for our vegetarian and vegan buddies, with aluminium handles. The base of the handles is flat, which means you can stand the brushes up. I find this super handy when I am at the gym and don’t want to lie my brushes on the benches and then rub them all over my face.
I have not experienced any shedding with these brushes and they re-shape perfectly after washing. They haven’t stained and they dry very quickly. I absolutely love the expert face brush and the buffing brush for applying foundation, and the detailer brush, base shadow brush, and deluxe crease brush are perfect for every kind of eyeshadow application I need to do. The bristles are beautifully soft and dense and the handles are just the right length and balance in my hand (even with the heavier rubberised bases).
They are also incredibly price-competitive. I have the following (prices in USD):
- the blush brush: $9
- the expert face brush: $9
- the core collection set* (detailer brush, pointed foundation brush, buffing brush, contour brush): $18
- the starter set for eyes (base shadow brush, deluxe crease brush, accent brush, pixel-point eyeliner brush, brow brush): $18
That means I have spent approximately $NZ65 on 11 brushes, or a little less than $6 per brush. I also spent $15 on shipping, so let’s say $80. Let’s compare that to the brushes that I consider are similar in terms of accessibility – the Manicare brushes available at Farmers. If you had $80 to spend on those brushes you could buy:
- the foundation brush: $26.99
- the angled blush brush: $22.49
- the powder brush: $27.99
…and you’d have $2.50 in change. You’d also have three brushes which, in my opinion, just are not as good as the Real Techniques brushes (and I do own a couple of the Manicare brushes, purchased before I discovered Real Techniques and my powder brush STILL sheds after three years!).
Seriously, I cannot emphasise enough how great my experience with these brushes has been. If you have been considering buying some entry-level makeup brushes but thought MAC was too expensive (because you guys, you can spend hundreds on brushes if
you go top of the line**) then I strongly recommend buying just one set of these and seeing how you like them. I’m already planning my next little order…
You can purchase the Real Techniques brushes at: www.iherb.com. You can also check out the Real Techniques website (link above) for tutorials and detailed information about the brushes and sets.
*The sets also come with handy brush cases that turn into a stand.
**please note: definitely not implying MAC brushes are top of the line. If you want a nice sense of what brushes can cost, look up the Tom Ford, Suqqu and Hakuhodo brushes. Yikes!
Good old random.org says number three is the winner!
to joanna [@]prettyprettypretty[.]com and we’ll post out your prize post-haste!
It would be one of the greatest understatements of our time to say I like having my nails painted. I own [undisclosed number] of nail polishes. I coordinate my outfits with my nail polish. It’s intense.
However, even with the magic of fast-drying top coat it can be a time-consuming task and gals, I got stuff to get done. So you can imagine my excitement when I learnt of the existence of nail polish that comes as a sticker – that is, already dry.
The first one I tried was from Sally Hansen (the Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips), and I really liked it a lot. The strips were easy to apply and looked neat. It’s particularly cool to be able to try patterns on your nails that wouldn’t otherwise be within the grasp of your/my nail art skills. However, the price was way too high – on par with the price of a bottle of polish but for a single application.
I also tried Butter London’s take on this product and it was terrible.
I had resigned myself to only using nail polish strips for special occasions and when I felt particularly richy-rich. But then…Japan City came through for me again.
This version cost me $3.99. But would it be on par with the much more expensive Sally Hansen experience?
I really didn’t expect much, so I only bought one. Mistake. These were really good – easy to apply, they stand up well to wear, and of course far less time-consuming than real nail polish.
You just stick them onto your nail like a sticker, then fold them gently over the nail tip and then file off the excess. EASY.
Here’s what I achieved (on both hands) in less than 10 minutes:
Not perfect, but pretty amazing for $3.99 and ten minutes. Unfortunately, the colour/pattern range was somewhat limited, but there’s definitely enough scope for some fun patterns to slap onto your nails on a Saturday morning for some weekend fun.
I’m heading back to pick up a few packets for a GIVEAWAY. In order to be in the running for three different patterns of mysterious Japanese nail strips, leave a comment below with your best ever beauty bargain. Each bargain constitutes one entry; winner will
be selected at random; winner will be drawn on Friday 8 March 2013; and the competition is open internationally.